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MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – A lone gunman triggered panic in Pasay City past midnight on Friday, June 2, after gunshots were heard and a fire broke out at Resorts World Manila (RWM).
The SITE Intelligence Group reported that a Filipino operative of the Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack, but police said the “isolated” incident was not a terrorist attack. The gunman was later found dead after apparently burning and shooting himself.
Here’s the timeline of events in the shooting incident, based on media reports and the timeline provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and RWM management.
June 2, 2017
12:07 am: The gunman arrives at the entertainment complex by taxi, according to RWM management. Wearing plain clothes and a backpack, and with no visible firearms, he takes an elevator leading to the parking areas. He alights at the second floor and proceeds to the parking area, where he wears a mask and ammunition vest, and takes out his rifle.
12:10 am: PO1 Francisco of Villamor Police Community Precinct receives a call on the alleged presence of armed men entering Resorts World Manila. Police Senior Inspector Vicente Barrameda deploys his team to the area.
According to RWM security, the gunman enters the mall through the second floor parking area, bypassing a metal detector and then brandishing an M4 assault rifle at the security personnel who tried to stop him.
He then fires his gun and burns 3 gaming tables at the second floor gaming area. He also torches several slot machines and sets the dining area on fire.
12:13 am: Three police teams are positioned at the south and west entrance; the east entrance; and the back of the Resorts World docking and fire exit area. The teams are directed to enter and assist RWM security in evacuating civilians.
12:18 am: The gunman tries to access the area behind the casino cashier. He enters the chip bank room after several attempts to force open the security doors, and takes with him P113.1 million worth of high-denomination chips.
Between 12:20 am to 12:40 am, various police teams and fire trucks arrive at the scene.
12:45 am: National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde arrives at RWM along with 7 personnel.
12:46 am: Several people are reportedly injured in the stampede that followed as guests rush out of the hotel and casino building, as gunshots are heard and fire breaks out.
Between 12:50 am to 1:15 am, various police units from Parañaque, Taguig, Makati, Las Piñas, and Pasay also arrive at the scene.
1:10 am: Police Team 3 exchange fire with the gunman while he was attempting to leave the building through the docking area fire exit at the back of RWM. RWM management says the security team was able to injure the gunman, who went back up the stairwell to avoid police units.
1:20 am: Police teams look for trapped guests inside the hotel and casino complex, but the thick smoke and collapsed ceiling iron beams slow down their movement.
1:27 am: Four teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines arrive on the scene.
1:44 am: Fire trucks, police, and the SWAT team arrive at the scene as smoke is seen from RWM. Meanwhile at the CCTV room, police and security personnel see the suspect roaming around an unidentified floor of Maxims Hotel.
1:45 am: The main gates of all 4 terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which is just opposite Resorts World Manila, are briefly shut. The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) also heightens security inside the airport.
“We wanted to make sure that the situation will not pose a threat to our operations,” MIAA general manager Ed Monreal says.
1:50 am: The gunman is spotted entering room 510, taking out the linen and burning it at the hallway. Police personnel are dispatched to locate and apprehend the gunman.
2:02 am: Resorts World Manila announces on its Twitter account that it is on lockdown due to the shooting.
2:20 am: PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa arrives at the scene.
2:30 am: Six teams from the PNP-Special Action Force are ordered to clear the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of Maxims Hotel.
Between 2:30 am to 6 am, police units continue their search for casualties and trapped guests inside RWM. Several employees are found hiding in basement 1, while 3 are rescued at the Maxims Hotel VIP parking and 2 foreigners at the third floor of the hotel. Meanwhile, 10 people are rescued at the 2nd floor fire exit by the Bureau of Fire Protection.
2:44 am: Agence France-Presse reports that the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist organizations, said a Filipino operative of terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack.
3:15 am: Police enter room 510, which was burning with toxic fumes, but do not find the gunman.
3:24 am: Chief Inspector Kimberly Molitas, spokesperson of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), says police operations are ongoing, and appeals to the public not to spread unverified information.
3:45 am: MIAA reopens the main gates of NAIA terminals after 2 hours.
The PNP chief says the gunman barged into the storage room to steal casino chips, which were recovered during the chase.
5:45 am: Molitas says police have identified the gunman. She also refers to “loss of lives” due to “suffocation.”
6:20 am: Police and RWM security find the gunman’s charred remains inside the burned Room 510.
8 am: Dela Rosa says the gunman, whom he described as a “lone wolf,” burned himself inside a hotel room on the 5th floor. He earlier told media that the gunman was “killed by our troops.”
The NCRPO chief says there is no indication that it was a terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, the embassies of the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom issue travel advisories, warning their nationals to exercise caution in the aftermath of the attack.
Between 9 am to 6 pm, police teams and rescue units retrieve casualties from the RWM.
11 am: 38 people were killed in the attack, including the gunman.
12 pm: Speaking to media, Albayalde suggests the gunman may have been mentally disturbed. Asked if robbery was the motive, he also contradicts the earlier police narrative, pointing out that the gunman would have no way of encashing the casino chips.
“Actually the motivation, we really couldn’t tell the motive. But apparently he is mentally disturbed,” he says.
But he also says police cannot relate the incident to terrorism.
“That’s why we cannot relate it to terrorism because he did not shoot anybody. Wala siyang sinaktan, wala siyang binaril (He didn’t hurt anyone, he didn’t shoot anyone),” he adds.
But hours before authorities spoke, an alleged ISIS member claimed responsibility for the Resorts World attack.
In a post on a pro-ISIS Telegram channel, Semion Almujaheed wrote: “The lonewolf soldiers of the Khilafah attack the heart of Kufar city of Manila in Resort World.” (READ: Terrorism and ISIS at Resorts World attack?)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also told Rappler that they are not yet ruling out that the incident was an ISIS act.
“The police and intelligence people are investigating. We are not yet ruling out that this is an ISIS act. It is so easy for ISIS to claim responsibility. Whether true, or ISIS is just riding onto a done act, we still do not know,” he said.
June 3, 2017
In the aftermath of the attack, grieving families express anger and dismay over what they said was a lack of assistance from the Resorts World Manila Management. They also slam security lapses that led to the deaths – a claim the management denies.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte also echoes the police’s position that the incident was not a terrorist act.
“Bakit mo nakawin ang plastic na alam mong hindi mo magamit. Why would he steal plastic he knows he can’t use)? That is crazy. Hindi naman niya gustong pumatay (He didn’t want to kill),” says Duterte in an ambush interview in Cagayan de Oro.
June 4, 2017
Two days after the attack, police identify the gunman as 42-year-old Jessie Carlos, a former Department of Finance (DOF) employee said to be “heavily in debt” due to casino gambling.
Carlos was previously assigned to the DOF’s “One Stop Shop” office. He was discharged from his post for issues related to his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
June 7, 2017
The House Committee on Public Order and Safety and the House Committee on Games and Amusement begin their investigation of the attack in Resorts World.
During the hearing, Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly admits that there were lapses in security and that Resorts World will pay P1 million each to the victims’ families and P500,000 to those injured during the attack.
Lawmakers also plan to file a bill to transfer the power to grant licenses to casinos from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to the House of Representatives. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also considers revoking the franchise of the resort-casino after the attack.
June 9, 2017
PAGCOR suspends Resorts World Manila’s gaming license while it undergoes investigation. Resorts World Manila also hires international security firm Blackpanda to review its safety protocols.
In response to the attack, Isabela 1st District Representative Rodolfo Albano III files a bill that will require casinos to charge a P3,000 entrance fee from all patrons.
June 11, 2017
Since the attack, Resorts World Manila lost P7.09 billion in market capitalization, according to data from the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Alliance Global Group, its parent company, has lost P8.6 billion in market value.
June 13, 2017
Travellers International Hotel Group Incorporated, the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila, assures its stakeholders that all efforts will be exerted to “preserve and defend the company’s provisional [gaming] license,” after it was suspended by Pagcor following the attack.
June 14, 2017
The House Committee on Public Order and Safety, House Committee on Games and Amusement, and the House Committee on Tourism hold the 2nd hearing at the House of Representatives, where they invited the Resorts World security team who was supposed to man the CCTV surveillance room, as well as representatives from the funeral homes where the victims were brought after the attack.
Testimonies from various police officials and hotel security during the hearing reveal the lack of coordination among those deployed last June 2.
June 21, 2017
Three House of Representative panels meet for the 3rd and last hearing on the investigation of the June 2 attack.
During the hearing, a lawmaker says that victim Elizabeth Panlilio-Gonzales, the late wife of Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr, allegedly lost a Rolex watch, jewelry, and her ATM and credit cards during the attack.
The Bureau of Fire Protection also discusses the possibility of a handbook and joint training for firemen and cops in case of a similar ‘complex situation,’ The House panels also eyes recommending charges against Resorts World.
June 29, 2017
Resorts World Manila resumes its gaming operations after presenting its Casino Security Protective Action Plans and passing a PAGCOR inspection.
Resorts World Manila president and chief executive Kingson Sian says they will constantly update and upgrade their protocols, and that they can now “start the difficult task of rebuilding as it is also our responsibility to take care of our 6,000 staff and personnel.” – with Michael Bueza and Marian Plaza / Rappler.com